Star Gold Coast Casino to Capitalise on Post-COVID Tourism

Beach with people relaxing
Photo by Johnny Chau

The reopening of international borders in 2021 places the Star’s Gold Coast Casino expansion project in prime position to capitalise on the international market, its chief executive said.

Gold Coast Bulletin reports that Star Entertainment chief executive Matt Bekier urged developers to continue adding new unit and hotel stock to the city as a key attractor for overseas visitors and is confident of a post-COVID tourism bounce back.

Mr Bekier recently visited the Gold Coast for the first time since July and said he was confident 2021 would be a good year and insisted 2022 and 2023 would be “great” years.

“In due course, international travel will be back and based on research recently undertaken in China, the level of interest in us as a destination has not changed and Australia ranks very highly,” he said.

“This tells us that nothing has fundamentally changed in the medium term so as soon as the airlines are back up, I expect tourists will come back.

“Star has been able to use that time to progress our Dorsett development and this will stand us in good stead because we will have fresh new products.”

Construction of the $400 million, 53-storey Dorsett and Star Residences tower passed the halfway mark in early December.

More than 26 storeys have now been built and work is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Mr Bekier said planning continued on the next stage of the Star’s expansion, a proposed 63-storey supertower, which would include both residential and hotel rooms.

“The pre-sales are progressing well on the next tower though it has been difficult with COVID stopping us travelling,” he said.

“Long-term, if we get the Olympic Games in southeast Queensland in 2032, we need to make sure we have as much new product as possible.

“You’d struggle to find a place better suited to this than the Gold Coast.”

Star casinos’ restrictions scaled back

Australia’s casinos are starting to get back to normal since coronavirus enforced closures have been lifted in many states.

Calvin Ayre reported in early December that the Star Entertainment Group, which shut down its properties in March in response to the pandemic, began to reopen its casinos in July, however, the number of gamblers allowed has been severely limited.

Star Entertainment is now ready to receive more guests at its Sydney and Brisbane venues.

The Star Sydney has been operating at a maximum capacity of 1800 guests but will be able to increase this to around 10,000 “based on the square meterage of the property”, starting next Monday.

That comes as the New South Wales government has backed off a restriction that limited casinos to just one patron every four square metres of gaming space.

From Monday, one patron will be allowed for every two square metres.

In Queensland, its relaxed COVID-19 policies have led to Star increasing capacity on the Gold Coast and at Treasury Brisbane.

The government made changes in mid-November that will mean it has the same two-metre restriction as in New South Wales, but the venues’ poker machines and gambling tables are now also going to be completely back in business.

All machines will be turned on and tables allowed to seat up to seven players, an increase from the previous four.

In addition, alcohol will make its way back to the gaming areas.

In light of the easing of restrictions, Star Entertainment is already making phone calls to furloughed workers to welcome them back to their old jobs.

It isn’t clear how many employees will be brought back, but with the Star going from 1800 to 10,000 patrons in Sydney, the venue will need substantial help.

William Brown

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